The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir, directed by Michael J. Bates, is performing its spring 2012 concert on at 6 p.m. Friday in the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center auditorium.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir, directed by Michael J. Bates, is performing its spring 2012 concert on at 6 p.m. Friday in the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center auditorium.

The choir will be performing classical and contemporary choral works, spirituals, opera and gospel selections. Admission to the spring concert is free and the public is welcome.

Featured soloists include graduating seniors, Janitha Lawson, Stephan Burse and Devin Heggie; as well as music majors Brandon Black, Phyllissa Dunk, Naocea Evans and Echol Simpson.

In March, the Vesper Choir performed an evening of opera favorites with the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra and toured Kansas City, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles during its annual spring tour. The choir has also performed in Memphis, Southhaven Miss., West Memphis, Little Rock, Hot Springs, Camden, Dermott and Pine Bluff this semester. Heidi Gordon serves as assistant director, Julia Buckingham is the choir’s accompanist, and Andre Strydom is rehearsal accompanist.

Organized in 1945 by Ariel M. Lovelace, the Vesper Choir serves as one of the main fundraisers for the campus and was given its name because it presented music for the mandatory Sunday evening “Vesper” services on the AM&N campus. The choir is a service organization that has performed for significant campus and community events, schools, churches, and community organizations around the state of Arkansas and internationally. With a mission that is cultural, artistic and educational, the group has produced a long line of distinguished singers, performers and professionals in other work fields and academic including, H. Beecher Hicks, prominent theologian, pastor and author; Smokie Norful, noted contemporary gospel artist and pastor; and James McKissic, internationally renowned concert pianist.